ABINGDON, May 29, 1864.
MY DEAR GENERAL: To-morrow start for our old State with between 800 and 900 dismounted men and 1,200 mounted. This department is entirely out of commissary stores, and my horses have had no forage for weeks. I am starting under the most unfavorable circumstances. Have 150 miles of desolate country to pass before reaching food for man or beast; a country that you are perfectly familiar with. Jimmy Young has this moment reached here. One month since sent him into Kentucky to remain until I came or something important occurred. He left Olympian Springs last Tuesday (24th). General Hobson reached that place at night with 3,000 men, viz, four Kentucky regiments and two Ohio; colonels commanding, Hanson, True, Brown,, and Ratliff; the others he has forgotten. Hobson stated publicly that he was en route to Saltville; that it would certainly be taken this time. They were to re-enforce Generals Averell and Crook, who are now in Virginia awaiting their arrival, and unless that combination can be thwarted I am fearful they will succeed; therefore the greater necessity of very speedy movement into their country, as I think that is the only possible means of frustrating their plans. So soon as they are apprised of a force being in the State they will immediately return. If not, I can injure them much more than they can us.
My forces cannot possibly protect this country, and they will starve in ten days if they remain. I shall strike for Frankfort, destroying that road as near Nashville as possible; move through Middle Tennessee if necessary, and try and interrupt communication upon the road to Chattanooga. You may rest assured, general, I shall do all in my power to relieve this portion of our Confederacy, and can certainly do so by leaving at once. Met your son, the captain, a few days since. Was much pleased with him. I hope, general, that in a short time you will hear of our boys being in the capital of Kentucky.
Yours, very truly,
JNO H. MORGAN,
JUNE 30, 1864.
Referred to General Bragg for his information.
Please return with remarks.
HDQRS. ARMIES OF THE CONFEDERATE STATES,
Richmond, July 2, 1864.
Respectfully returned to His Excellency the President.
The accounts received so far do not indicate any satisfactory result of the movement into Kentucky by General Morgan. Should he ever return with his command it will as usual be disorganized and unfit for service until again armed, equipped, and disciplined. The large number of prisoners we always lose by these raiding expeditions has been the source of great evil, placing us, in that respect, at the mercy of a cruel foe. Had this force been with us in the Valley of Virginia we should probably not have to regret a defeat there and mourn the loss of one of our most gallant leaders, who fell in striving to save that invaluable region from devastation.